Macon, Georgia– Mercer University Press author John Williams was presented with the Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel for his book Lake Moon: A Novel on June 7 at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta.
The presentation was made at the 39th Annual Georgia Author of the Year Awards Dinner hosted by Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College, the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, the Margaret T. and Henry C. Bourne, Jr. Chair in Poetry and the H. Bruce McEver Visiting Chair in Writing.
Lake Moon: A Novel was published by Mercer University Press in September. A novel of both self-realization and self-destruction, John Williams’s Lake Moon is the story of a band and its young members in their quest for recognition and fulfillment. Set primarily in the moral and social turmoil of the 1960s and ‘70s in Georgia, the novel depicts the characters’ struggle against self-doubt, naivete, and addiction in their pursuit of the inescapable calling of music. This is also the story of the relationship between music and musician, between youth and belonging, between commerce and art, between self-loathing and self-awareness.
Like the music it captures, it moves its audience with an aching, lyrical quality. In reading Lake Moon, one is continually reminded of song as the novel draws the audience in, its notes, both low and high, echoing across an emotional landscape. With dialogue so convincing that it feels like eavesdropping, the novel paints a picture of regret and longing and of the unchartable and convoluted paths life can take without our being aware of it. Williams has created a world where, as Langston Hughes once wrote, "if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language."
This novel’s desolate and stirring beauty will resound within its audience long after the final chord, leaving nothing untouched and nothing unmoved.
John M. Williams (Ph.D. Georgia State University) is an associate professor of English at LaGrange College. He lives in LaGrange with his wife Erin, son Martin and daughter Ellie.